NEW YORK — The dollar fell in active trading Wednesday after the government reported that the U.S. trade deficit had swollen to a record half-year level with little sign of slackening.
Gold prices also were down slightly. The Republic National Bank in New York quoted gold at $351.50 an ounce as of 4 p.m., 60 cents lower than Tuesday's late bid.
Traders said the dollar was depressed by Wednesday's Commerce Department report that the U.S. trade deficit reached a record $83.9 bilion for the first half of this year. For the month of June, the trade deficit was $14.2 billion, virtually the same as the May figure, the department said.
Data showing sales of U.S. single-family homes fell 9.9% in June also backed up bearish sentiment for the dollar, traders said.
"The dollar stayed within its recent trading range, but closed a bit weaker because it did not particularly care for the trade figures," said David Arbesman of Prudential-Bache Securities.